Toy Story 3 comes in two versions: ordinary 2-D or 3-D. Opt for the three and catch these multi-dimensional characters in multi-dimensions. Pixar has attached a short subject to the opening. Pitting night against day, it is hilarious and profound and alone is worth the extra couple of bucks.
The usual suspects are in the cast: Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Joan Cusack, the animated feature ubiquitous John Ratzenberger, yesteryear comedian Don Rickles and famed character actor Ned Beatty is added as the villain of the piece.
Andy has grown up and so have the adventures of his toys. The boy is going off to college. Woody, Buzz Lightyear and the rest of his toys are uncertain about their future. Woody is sure they’ll not be forgotten and Andy will move them into the attic. He’s right but an accident gets them hauled to a day care center instead.
The head toy is a big, soft-voiced fluffy bear. He welcomes them with open arms. Convinced they have been abandoned by their beloved Andy, all the toys but Woody opt to stay. Things change when the bear assigns Woody’s toys to toddlers who bash them to bits. Complaints and an insistence that they get a transfer to more mellow territory reveals a shocking fact. The day care center is a concentration camp run with Gestapo efficiency by the bear, a giant, creepy, droopy-eyed baby doll and their henchmen.
It’s a freaky place. One of those monkeys with the clanging cymbals watches a series of cameras that monitor the place and no one escapes — ever.
The funniest scenes — again — involve a bit with Buzz’s toy believing he’s a spaceman saving the universe from the Evil Emperor Zurg. There’s a wonderful sequence with Mr. Potato Head and a tortilla and some terrific humor courtesy of Ken and Barbie. But that’s about it.
Big question marks hang in the air for the film’s G rating. Toy Story 3 is much more serious than its predecessors. It is also — frankly — quite intense. There are parts that could frighten less mature children. Combine the serious themes and the heavy, violent chase scenes and nasty villains with one of the best and sweetest, movie endings ever, and you have to wonder if this is a film for kids or one done for adults.
In this case the adults might be John Lasseter and Andrew Stanton, the two guys responsible for creating characters that made them rich and whose screenplay gives their famous characters a tear-inducing send-off.
Toy Story 3 also demonstrates beyond a doubt that Pixar produces the best movies on the planet. Period. Want proof? After Toy Story 3 the audience cried then cheered. And critics cried. Critics don’t cry. Ever. This one didn’t but it was close. The wind-down of the story of some of the deepest, richest characters in movie history sent many of us back in time and into attics and dusty boxes where we store our own childhood memories; places where our toys and the innocence of childhood went to die and be forever forgotten.
Rated G. It opens Friday, June 18 at the Carmike 12 and at the Fairchild Cinemas 12.
Mr. Movie rating: 5 stars
5 stars/4 1/2 stars: Must see on the big screen.
4 stars / 3 1/2 stars: Good film, see it if it's your type of movie.
3 stars / 2 1/2 stars: Wait until it comes out on video.
2 stars / 1 star: Don't bother.
0 stars: Speaks for itself.